Iceland’s Parliament on Tuesday presented a Bill that aims to close the gap in pay between men and women, reported AFP. The new law will make it mandatory for private and public companies with 25 or more employees to prove that their salary structure is not biased by gender. Erring companies will be fined. The law is expected to come into effect from January 2018 as it has support from across parties.
“The Bill entails that companies and institutions of a certain size, 25 or more employees, undertake a certification of their equal-pay programmes,” said Thorsteinn Viglundsson, Minister of Social Affairs and Equality. “In regard to annual financial statements, there are fines if documents are not delivered, and I can see the same apply if an equal-pay certification has not been implemented, since it will be an obligation.”
The Bill was supported by the centre-right coalition government as well as the Opposition. Authorities estimate that Icelandic women get paid 7% less than their male counterparts. The country topped the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Gender Gap Index.
In 1975, women in Iceland refused to work, cook, do household chores or look after family on October 27 in protest against inequality in respect and pay. It brought the country to a near-collapse. They called it the “Women’s Day Off”.